Since 1968 over a thousand political campaigns and activist groups have been targeted by the UK's secret police units. Undercover officers were deployed into the lives of members of the public to manipulate and abuse them in the name of averting "subversion" and "public disorder".

The Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) have acted as Britain's secret political police. Tasked with undermining democratic participation in politics, they used the identities of dead children and deceived women into long term intimate sexual relationships as part of their deployment.

In October 2010 activists started to unmask undercover officers, who had infiltrated a cross section of social justice campaign groups. Building up detailed profiles of who the spy cops are and how they operated.

Police Spies Out Of Lives, a group of the women who had been deceived into long term sexual relationships by undercover officers took legal action to push the police to issue an apology.

Sustained pressure from activists networks like Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance led to the calling of a public inquiry into Undercover Policing. However the government is currently attempting to pass the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill which would legalise police spies committing any crime.

Activist researchers like Undercover Research Group continue to unearth new information about the deployments. Our own Spycops Info Podcast features fresh revelations, interviews and more on a regular basis.

There have been numerous projects that have told the story of the spy cops, starting with the book Undercover: The True Story of Britain's Secret Police written by Guardian Journalists Rob Evans & Paul Lewis in 2012, followed soon after by The Police's Dirty Secret documentary. More recently the Lush Shop Window Campaign and the Bed Of Lies Podcast have brought the story to life in new ways. You can join our Telegram channel for updates whenever they come out.

Coverage in the media has been sadly limited, but there has been significant coverage in the Guardian who have covered this story from the beginning, the Morning Star who are the only publication to send a journalist to every session of the inquiry, The Canary and even occasionally on the BBC. There's also a youtube playlist of videos on the topic.

New revelations about secret undercover political policing in the UK appear all the time, join the conversation about #Spycops on twitter and in the Spycops Info facebook group.